Luke 21: “Stand Tall”

High Intensity Discharge Lamps 

One of my favorite gifts for Christmas this year was a set of HID lights for my car. Incase you’re wondering, HID stands for “High Intensity Discharge.” I know, if you’re not a car person that sounds really lame, but I’ve been eyeing these lights for a long time. Still confused by HID light? They’re the headlights that have that slightly blueish tint, you know, the one’s that you hate to see driving towards you or in the rearview mirror behind you. Sorry about that, but if you have them, you know why they’re so great!

I couldn’t wait to get my lights out and install them, in fact, I’ve never been so excited for nightfall so I could see the full effects of my new lights. It’s interesting, even during the day I could see the light shining on the garage, it just wasn’t as bright because of the sunlight. When night finally came, which seemed like forever, then the lights really showed off.

Jesus in Luke 21 is making a very similar point.

With only a few days away from his crucifixion, Jesus is trying to teach is disciples what to expect in the future. In this particular case there’s no reason to wear shades, because the future doesn’t look so bright. Here are the highlights:

  • The Temple in Jerusalem will be destroyed (v. 6)
  • There will be wars and insurrections (v. 9)
  • Nations will go to war against nations. Kingdom against kingdom (v. 10)
  • There will be great earthquakes, famines, plagues, and terrifying things (v. 11)
  • Time of great persecution for the disciples (v. 12)
  • Some of the disciples will be killed (v. 16)
  • Everyone will hate them because of Jesus (v. 17)

Like I said, not so bright.

But in the midst of all these troubling statements, Jesus shares an incredible vision of hope.

Luke 21:27-31 (NLT) 27 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. 28 So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”

29 Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. 30 When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. 31 In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near.

There’s no doubt that the world around us is getting darker and darker, but instead of allowing this to cause us to cower and fear, as Christians, Jesus says to stand up and “lift up our heads” (as it reads in the NIV), for this means that our salvation is closer and closer.

I want you to make the comparison between your life and set of HID headlights. Your life should shine bright no matter the conditions around you, but as the world around you gets darker and darker, your light will/should shine brighter and brighter. Consider how strange it would seem to witness a person standing tall in the midst of great tragedy and persecution. As the world cowers in fear of the things around them, Christians need to stand tall, lift their heads, because we know it won’t be long now, Jesus is coming.

We have a wonderful opportunity to show the world the reason why we don’t fear. Trust me, they will ask, and as Peter says, “If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.”

Just like knowing when spring/summer is approaching because of our discernment of the trees, as the world gets thrown further and further into chaos, we should discern that Jesus is getting closer and closer.

I challenge each of you today to stand tall, shine bright, for the Kingdom of God is near.